Every year, there are new trends that are set to be the next best thing in terms of marketing strategy. These trends may be new ways of trying things (that don't always pan out). They may also be trends because there is a new software or strategy that sees a sudden surge of use as more people begin to realize the benefit. And many of these trends turn into best practices.
Over the past several years, we’ve seen a shift in how we market. One reason is that our consumer base has changed. As the millennial and Generation Z have aged and reached the point where they are active consumers, marketers have had to adapt their strategies. Millennial and Generation Z consumers care about authenticity in terms of content. But even these two generations have differences in what matters to them (for example, millennials are more interested in loyalty programs whereas Generation Z doesn’t really care).
Another reason for the shift is continued technological advancement and a variety of new solutions become available to marketers (known as “martech”). There are now whole companies and solutions dedicated to social media marketing; hardly two decades ago, social media was in its infancy. As it grew in popularity, there were predictions of what it could mean for marketing to consumers. And to this day, we’re still learning more about the best way to take advantage of these online communities.
Predictions are always being made. In November 2018, Peter Isaacson, the CMO for Demandbase and a marketer with over 25 years of experience in B2B and B2C marketing, wrote the article, "5 predictions for B2B marketing in 2019." This article outlined Isaacson’s predictions, which mainly focused on marketing solutions.
These five predictions are as follows:
In the martech stack, ABM will be the core platform. In conjunction with CRM and marketing automation systems, Isaacson says that ABM will become the “third leg” of core tech products that marketers use.
Connected data is more important than ever. Instead of segmented data, you will be able to connect different marketing technologies and share customer data across different applications. By sharing this data, they will get a more complete picture of their audience.
Artificial Intelligence won’t be a hot topic, but it will be a given. Isaacson says that AI will still be around, but because it will become a standard underlying technology, there is no need to keep talking about it. As he puts it, it will just be “there.”
Next best action is feasible at scale. When a customer is in the buying cycle, what is the next best action to take? Thanks to Artificial Intelligence, the next best action can be triggered automatically.
RIP Persona-based Advertising. You were likely taught to create a “persona” of a typical member of your audience. But this was more guesswork than anything, and these personas, more often than not, are inconsistent with who your audience actually is.
These are Isaacson’s predictions, and we must agree that he’s right. Four months in, we’re already starting to see some changes.
But there is one prediction he didn’t make that we believe is important to note. We’ll touch on it later.
At CONCURED, we are all about the latest marketing best practices and technologies. It’s why we founded and created CONCURED in the first place. We don’t like guesswork; we like data. And as technology becomes smarter, we will gain even better insight into our customers (and not just target an idealized version of them).
We know that our audience base is always changing. With smart technology, we can adapt to these changes and minimize our losses.
1. ABM as Core Platform
Perhaps this prediction of Isaacson has to do with the fact that he is the CMO of Demandbase, because one of their solutions is is an ABM platform. Demandbase claims their ABM platform “is the only comprehensive, end-to-end ABM platform that lets you easily discover and manage audiences of target accounts, measure the progress of those accounts and act on them across the entire funnel.”
And while Isaacson may be biased, he isn’t wrong. Demandbase may be one of the first ABM platforms, but it won’t be for long. Other platforms on the market include Terminus, which is also marketed as an “all-in-one” ABM platform for B2B marketing. And then there’s Mintigo, which is a suite of solutions that includes ABM targeting to provide a clearer picture of your audience base.
2. Connected Data Rules
An all-encompassing suite, or a group of solutions that are able to integrate with competitor products, is an absolute must. Markets are saturated and consumers are saturated. Marketers need to use every solution at their disposal that makes them more efficient and more on-target when it comes to their strategy.
If a solution doesn’t allow for information exchange with another platform, it isn’t worth a marketer’s time or money. And this prediction comes true with the increased use of ABM platforms because it is a natural byproduct of this solution.
3. AI is the Norm
There are a lot of things that, when first introduced, were often talked about for their newness or rarity. For example, when televisions first came out, only a few thousand households had them. For the 2018-2019 season, Statista reports that in the United States only, there are 119.9 million televisions in homes. Artificial intelligence is going the same way: When the technology first came out, it was a bit rough and only a handful of solutions used it. But now that the technology has advanced, it has become a standard across a variety of products and software. And there will be an uptick in its use not just because of its possibilities but because to not would mean conceding to competitors who do use it in their products or solutions.
4. "Next Best Action" is Scalable
Sometimes it’s difficult to gauge when to make the next move. (If you’ve ever been on a date, you know how stressful this can be.) But with new technology, we will get a better idea of the right time to act because AI gives us the ability to scale the data down to a point we can draw insights. And then we can take the next, carefully-timed step to lead our consumers down the buying funnel.
5. No More Persona-based Advertising
With artificial intelligence integrates into more technology, we will be able to analyze data like never before. Instead of creating some fictitious “Janet, 45. Three kids, two of whom are in school. Works full time. Believes that…” buyer profiles, we now have the ability to mine our data and get a true picture of our customers. And this picture includes what and why your customers purchase and when the best time to engage them.
One More Prediction
One prediction we believe that Isaacson missed was the increased incorporation of accelerated mobile pages, or AMP. We talked about AMP in a previous article about BMW and the steps they took to for their website to be mobile-first and content-led. They decided to incorporate AMP Stories, which are similar in look and interactivity to Instagram’s stories.
February 2016 was Google’s official launch of AMP, and to date, it can be found on over 2 billion webpages across nearly 1 million websites. In the continued pursuit of faster webpage loading times, AMP is a good addition since it can help these pages load twice as fast.
Our prediction is that more and more companies will begin to see the value of both AMP-powered webpages and AMP stories. As the shift to mobile-first website design solidifies itself as the standard (thanks to Google’s mobile-first indexing), you can expect to see AMP’s use increase due to its mobile-friendliness.
AMP stories, for example, make it easier to read blog posts and articles on a mobile website. Users can swipe instead of scroll. The easier it is to search for and engage with websites and their content on mobile devices, the better it is for the websites in terms of page visits, bounce rates, and overall length of time spent per page.
A Changing Landscape
We’re excited to see how the marketing landscape will be in the next year, and we can only imagine the changes we will see in the next 5, 10, and 20 years. But these predictions are set to become reality within the next year to year and a half because they follow the progression of technology like account-based marketing and application performance management.
Now is the time to evaluate your own marketing. Are you already employing the use of ABM and AMP? Are they even on your radar? If not, now is the perfect opportunity to get ahead of your competitors. So when these predictions become common practice, you’ll already be on to the next best thing.
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